Revising the HttT Text & Dialogue

For writers working on documentation, story prose, announcements, and all kinds of Wesnoth text.

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

Post Reply
User avatar
vodot
Posts: 97
Joined: October 12th, 2011, 5:32 pm
Location: Camas, WA

Revising the HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by vodot » October 20th, 2011, 6:00 pm

1000+ views in the first two weeks— you guys rock!

Hi all- taking zookeper's advice, this thread will be a repository and feedback center for my work on the English HttT text and dialogue.

Goals:
1. Clarify and sharpen the information given to the player (without 'hints')
2. Improve the feel and the player's connection to the characters (without writing a book)
3. Present a more mature set of protagonists (in alignment with Jetrel's ongoing art/theme direction).

Some of you have asked me for a scoping statement, so here it is, explicitly:

In Scope:
All HttT English text, including all minor dialogue, storyline, and character details

Out of scope:
Canon
Major HttT dialogue, storyline, and character details
Any disruption to established mainline campaigns

I am not going to beat the string freeze, and zookeeper has asked me not to worry yet about WML. After the freeze and the completion of all scenarios, I will circle back and join the implementation effort.

In addition to the above stated goals, please review and critique for KISS and canonicity.

Also, obviously, HERE THAR BE SPOILERS.

Running Tasklog:
Here

Major Edits:
= First draft
= First edit
= Second edit
= Third edit


Heir to the Throne Introduction v0.8, v0.7, v0.6.2, v0.6, v0.5, [Original]

Chapter 1:

Scenario 1: The Elves Besieged v0.7, v0.6, [Original]

Scenario 2: Blackwater Port v0.5, v0.4, [Original]

Scenario 3: Isle of Alduin v0.7, v0.6, [Original]

Scenario 4: Bay of Pearls v0.7.1, v0.7, v0.6, [Original]

Scenario 5a: Muff Malal's Peninsula v0.5, v0.4, [Original]

Scenario 5b: Isle of the Damned v0.7.2, v0.6, [Original]

Scenario 6: Siege of Elensefar v0.5.3, v0.5.2, v0.5.1, v0.5, v0.4, [Original]

Chapter 2:

Scenario 7: Crossroads v0.3, [Original]

Scenario 8: Princess of Wesnoth v0.4, v0.3.2, v0.3, [Original]

Scenario 9: The Valley of Death v0.3, [Original]

Scenario 10: Gryphon Mountain [Original]
Last edited by vodot on November 10th, 2011, 11:36 pm, edited 65 times in total.

User avatar
Pewskeepski
Posts: 353
Joined: November 17th, 2010, 6:24 pm
Location: The Dungeon

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by Pewskeepski » October 20th, 2011, 8:28 pm

Wow, really good! Very... medieval age sounding :)

They mention that winter is coming up fast. But winter doesn't actually arrive until way later scenarios. And it becomes autumn at Princess of Wesnoth, I think. That said, it's actually summer at this time.

I think Konrad lusting to fight, kill, and have such hatred for orcs doesn't work. Since Delfador has raised him, I assume the wise old mage would teach him not to let hatred grow and control his actions. I understand him not liking orcs, and wanting them dead, but I think he shouldn't be so... hating. Oh, and Delfador is not Konrad's father ;)

Psst, and maybe you should play through the whole campaign because there is an important plot twist at the end.

User avatar
vodot
Posts: 97
Joined: October 12th, 2011, 5:32 pm
Location: Camas, WA

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by vodot » October 20th, 2011, 9:33 pm

Glad you liked it, & thanks for the feedback!
Pewskeepski wrote:They mention that winter is coming up fast.
Metaphor :)
Perhaps i need to make this more clear.
Pewskeepski wrote:I think Konrad lusting to fight, kill, and have such hatred for orcs doesn't work. Since Delfador has raised him, I assume the wise old mage would teach him not to let hatred grow and control his actions. I understand him not liking orcs, and wanting them dead, but I think he shouldn't be so... hating.
No? Not even as they kill the people that have raised and protected him? I'm OK with him becoming gradually less vitriolic, but I think some rage is warranted here.
Pewskeepski wrote:Oh, and Delfador is not Konrad's father ;)
Eh, true- but I would think they were close enough to address each other in similar tones.
Pewskeepski wrote:Psst, and maybe you should play through the whole campaign because there is an important plot twist at the end.
I have't finished it yet; it's true. Almost there :) But I think I already know about the plot twist you are talking about- how does it affect the dialogue in S1?
Last edited by vodot on October 20th, 2011, 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
taptap
Forum Regular
Posts: 980
Joined: October 6th, 2011, 5:42 pm

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by taptap » October 20th, 2011, 10:12 pm

There is still a bunch of typos. It should be "seized", "suddenly", "insinuations"...

The main question I never understood storywise, why should the orcish warlord accept any offers after infighting and confusion among humans begin, when he assembled an army big enough to allow a battle with the whole army to begin with? And whatever happened to Eldred, why are his men willing to attack the king? And why is the whole army happy to follow Eldred - against the army raised by Delfador from the capital Weldyn - as soon as the king is dead?

Another issue: I like all the didactic stuff in HttT, but why do I have to read it when I play on challenging?
I am a Saurian Skirmisher: I'm a real pest, especially at night.

User avatar
vodot
Posts: 97
Joined: October 12th, 2011, 5:32 pm
Location: Camas, WA

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by vodot » October 20th, 2011, 10:35 pm

taptap wrote:There is still a bunch of typos. It should be "seized", "suddenly", "insinuations"...
Yeah... working with a simple text editor is forcing me to actually try and type properly. These need to be run through a spell checker.
taptap wrote:The main question I never understood storywise, why should the orcish warlord accept any offers after infighting and confusion among humans begin, when he assembled an army big enough to allow a battle with the whole army to begin with?
Changing this would be flirting with the edge of the limited scope I have been allowing myself for this. For what it's worth, I agree. I would suggest going more to "The Orcs basically get carte blanch to roam the realm, without having to fight a bloody battle, as long as they don't cause TOO much mayhem..." but that seems like it would require even more time to explain.
taptap wrote:And whatever happened to Eldred, why are his men willing to attack the king?
This one I tried to address a little. It's not his whole half of the army; just his elite guard. Not enough?
taptap wrote:And why is the whole army happy to follow Eldred - against the army raised by Delfador from the capital Weldyn - as soon as the king is dead?
This one, I tried to address a little more firmly; they aren't. There's no battle.
taptap wrote:Another issue: I like all the didactic stuff in HttT, but why do I have to read it when I play on challenging?
This one is a secondary priority, but I'd appreciate this too. If you can point out specific instances in my revisions that are unnecessary for experienced players, please let me know and in the WML we can qualify under which difficulty levels those messages appear.

User avatar
Pewskeepski
Posts: 353
Joined: November 17th, 2010, 6:24 pm
Location: The Dungeon

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by Pewskeepski » October 21st, 2011, 12:05 am

vodot wrote:No? Not even as they kill the people that have raised and protected him? I'm OK with him becoming gradually less vitriolic, but I think some rage is warranted here.
True, but I think it saying he yearns for violence was too much.
vodot wrote:I have't finished it yet; it's true. Almost there :) But I think I already know about the plot twist you are talking about- how does it affect the dialogue in S1?
It doesn't; I was just making sure you knew :)

User avatar
zookeeper
WML Wizard
Posts: 9739
Joined: September 11th, 2004, 10:40 pm
Location: Finland

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by zookeeper » October 21st, 2011, 6:03 am

Ok, there seems to be a lot of good stuff in there, but there's one problem: there's a lot of it. The HttT intro is already a long one, but yours looks like it has about doubled the number of words. Story text should really be used only as much as is needed to actually tell the necessary parts of the story and set the right mood, as what the audience primarily wants is to get to play the game.

Also, you are pretty much doing a complete rewrite here, meaning it's going to take quite a bit of work to actually review and commit it all, not to mention that we can't really start putting it in scenario by scenario but instead have to wait until it's more or less complete. Such a project isn't something we can really expect to be able to manage in two weeks.

Anyway, it looks like you can write the kind of stuff that's needed, but a rewrite of most of the text still warrants some more planning and coordination.

User avatar
vodot
Posts: 97
Joined: October 12th, 2011, 5:32 pm
Location: Camas, WA

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by vodot » October 21st, 2011, 4:52 pm

zookeeper wrote:Ok, there seems to be a lot of good stuff in there, but there's one problem: there's a lot of it. The HttT intro is already a long one, but yours looks like it has about doubled the number of words.
Alas, more than doubled. It is much too long- I just committed my text into my local copy and ran through it a couple times. Even splitting it up, it needs to be significantly trimmed. Not quite in In half, I would say, but close. The original was just short of 500 words; my rewrite is pushing 1250. I think I should shoot for 750-800. Sorry for getting a little carried away.
zookeeper wrote:Story text should really be used only as much as is needed to actually tell the necessary parts of the story and set the right mood, as what the audience primarily wants is to get to play the game.
Well, I do confess to liking fully fleshed-out stories in most games I play. But of course the story is still just a driver. I was not adding length for length's sake. I only added three panels: one to better explain Eldred, and two to transition more naturally into the first scenario. The individual panels got way too long, though. Rats.
zookeeper wrote:Also, you are pretty much doing a complete rewrite here, meaning it's going to take quite a bit of work to actually review and commit it all, not to mention that we can't really start putting it in scenario by scenario but instead have to wait until it's more or less complete. Such a project isn't something we can really expect to be able to manage in two weeks.
Am I? While I am willing to completely rewrite sections of text (obviously), I have been purposefully avoiding making any significant plot/event changes. Granted, I have to go back in and trim, but none of the changes I made should require any other text to be altered- or did I overlook something?

Unless you are referring to my voice being different; but I think needing to ask that question at all might be a good sign for this campaign :)
Pewskeepski wrote:True, but I think it saying he yearns for violence was too much.
Possibly. How do other people feel about this? I might have overwritten that section anyway- length is going to be much more tightly controlled in this next set of drafts.

User avatar
zookeeper
WML Wizard
Posts: 9739
Joined: September 11th, 2004, 10:40 pm
Location: Finland

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by zookeeper » October 21st, 2011, 7:32 pm

vodot wrote:Well, I do confess to liking fully fleshed-out stories in most games I play. But of course the story is still just a driver. I was not adding length for length's sake. I only added three panels: one to better explain Eldred, and two to transition more naturally into the first scenario. The individual panels got way too long, though. Rats.
Well, the thing is that fully fleshed-out stories can still be delivered in different ways. For example, all the details about Eldred don't need to be in the intro; the intro could remain as succinct and to-the-point as it is now and all the little flavourful details could be delivered by having Delfador tell them to Li'sar during the last third of the campaign. It'd both make sense (since presumably she hasn't been told what really happened) and provide good opportunities to give Li'sar's character more depth.

When a player picks up the campaign for the first time, they aren't really invested in the story yet and you should be pretty mindful about what information you're giving them; there's not enough time in an intro to make the audience particularly interested in the characters who they heard of for the first time only seconds ago, so elaborating on a minor backstory character or even the exact details of how something in the backstory happened isn't a very good use of that time. An intro should rather be just enough to make the player aware of who they are playing and how did they get there and what the grand scheme of things is so that they can begin playing, get to know the characters and setting first-hand and then become interested in hearing about this or that aspect of the backstory.
vodot wrote:
zookeeper wrote:Also, you are pretty much doing a complete rewrite here, meaning it's going to take quite a bit of work to actually review and commit it all, not to mention that we can't really start putting it in scenario by scenario but instead have to wait until it's more or less complete. Such a project isn't something we can really expect to be able to manage in two weeks.
Am I? While I am willing to completely rewrite sections of text (obviously), I have been purposefully avoiding making any significant plot/event changes. Granted, I have to go back in and trim, but none of the changes I made should require any other text to be altered- or did I overlook something?

Unless you are referring to my voice being different; but I think needing to ask that question at all might be a good sign for this campaign :)
I meant that you're rewriting almost all the story text and dialogue even if you don't change what's being said; the overall style is notably different from the old one and for example Konrad sounds quite different from his old self (which is what we want, though; that's not a problem as such), which means that it doesn't mix well with the old text. I don't think we want to end up with a stable release in which the first half (or however far we'd manage to get in time) of the campaign treats you to re-written dialogue in a more appealing style and interesting more characters only to abruptly revert back to the old style halfway through: it'd be quite a disappointment to the player.

User avatar
vodot
Posts: 97
Joined: October 12th, 2011, 5:32 pm
Location: Camas, WA

Scenarios 3-5 [RE: HttT Text & Dialogue]

Post by vodot » October 21st, 2011, 7:46 pm

Bah, 5-attachment limit. I was hoping to have these all in the same post but I'll have to make reviewers sift through the thread a little. If it gets crazy I'll need to move to a different storage location. Any tips?

Scenario 3:
Scenario 4:
Scenario 5a:
Scenario 5b:


All storage moved to dropbox. See first post.
Last edited by vodot on October 26th, 2011, 9:12 pm, edited 12 times in total.

Ceres
Forum Regular
Posts: 620
Joined: September 18th, 2010, 7:56 pm
Location: Germany

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by Ceres » October 21st, 2011, 7:48 pm

You could put all files in a .zip/.rar/something.

User avatar
vodot
Posts: 97
Joined: October 12th, 2011, 5:32 pm
Location: Camas, WA

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by vodot » October 21st, 2011, 7:51 pm

zookeeper wrote:Well, the thing is that fully fleshed-out stories can still be delivered in different ways. For example, all the details about Eldred don't need to be in the intro; the intro could remain as succinct and to-the-point as it is now and all the little flavourful details could be delivered by having Delfador tell them to Li'sar during the last third of the campaign. It'd both make sense (since presumably she hasn't been told what really happened) and provide good opportunities to give Li'sar's character more depth.
zookeeper wrote:...get to know the characters and setting first-hand and then become interested in hearing about this or that aspect of the backstory.
Sounds good.
zookeeper wrote:I meant that you're rewriting almost all the story text and dialogue even if you don't change what's being said; the overall style is notably different from the old one and for example Konrad sounds quite different from his old self (which is what we want, though; that's not a problem as such), which means that it doesn't mix well with the old text. I don't think we want to end up with a stable release in which the first half (or however far we'd manage to get in time) of the campaign treats you to re-written dialogue in a more appealing style and interesting more characters only to abruptly revert back to the old style halfway through: it'd be quite a disappointment to the player.
mmm. Any hope of my having more than the two weeks?

Since I know we're moving in this direction, I will keep chugging away here along my current train of thought. Thanks all for the continued feedback both here and via PM.

User avatar
Pewskeepski
Posts: 353
Joined: November 17th, 2010, 6:24 pm
Location: The Dungeon

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by Pewskeepski » October 21st, 2011, 9:22 pm

About Isle of Alduin: Again, Delfador isn't Konrad's father. He's like a father to him so I suppose it would be possible that he would call him 'son', but ultimately, I think it would just be confusing to the player.

I think Seimus joining the player would be a balance issue. He's a great mage, correct? That's a pretty powerful unit, especially if he was loyal. Maybe he should say something like "Nay, I have to stay here and help build this academy anew. Farewell, my friends."?

I look forward to reading more :)

User avatar
vodot
Posts: 97
Joined: October 12th, 2011, 5:32 pm
Location: Camas, WA

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by vodot » October 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm

Pewskeepski wrote:Seimus joining the player would be a balance issue. He's a great mage, correct? That's a pretty powerful unit, especially if he was loyal. Maybe he should say something like "Nay, I have to stay here and help build this academy anew. Farewell, my friends."?)
O.o I got him confused with the mage you already find in the beginning. I thought Seimus joined the party. oops. EDIT: fixed.

User avatar
Temuchin Khan
Posts: 1714
Joined: September 3rd, 2004, 6:35 pm
Location: Player 6 on the original Agaia map

Re: HttT Text & Dialogue

Post by Temuchin Khan » October 22nd, 2011, 1:42 pm

vodot wrote:mmm. Any hope of my having more than the two weeks?

Since I know we're moving in this direction, I will keep chugging away here along my current train of thought. Thanks all for the continued feedback both here and via PM.
After this weekend, I could help with this if you want. Maybe we could split it between us. If you want to take me up on my offer, just send me some of the dialogue.

Post Reply